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HOU 4, MIN 1: Defensive Lapses, Lack of Offense Lead to Another Twins Loss

Yes, it happened again. The Minnesota Twins lost yet another playoff game, and in incredibly frustrating fashion. It could all be over tomorrow, as the Houston Astros are now in a position to eliminate the Twins with another victory.

Box Score

Maeda: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: None

Bottom 3 WPA: Romo -.335, Duffey -.155, Rosario -.125

Presumable A.L. Cy Young runner-up Kenta Maeda gave the Twins their first scoreless playoff start since Johan Santana did it in game one of the 2004 ALDS.

Maeda struck out five over five innings, escaping a few jams but ultimately doing his job: giving the Twins a chance to win.

Zack Greinke started for the Astros and struggled through the first inning. He loaded the bases with one out before Alex Bregman made a tremendous play on a swinging bunt from Miguel Sanó. The Twins didn’t score.

The Twins did take advantage of a two-out walk of Max Kepler in the third inning. Nelson Cruz laced a double off the right field wall and Kepler scored, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.

Framber Valdéz, who had a 3.57 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 70 ⅔ innings for Houston this year, relieved extremely effectively for Greinke as the Twins continued their complete ineptitude against left-handed pitching.

That lead would hold until Tyler Duffey surrendered three straight singles in the seventh with two outs.

Taylor Rogers entered with one on and no outs in the eighth. He escaped without any damage.

Sergio Romo allowed two Texas League singles to lead off the eighth, forced two flyouts and then induced weak contact from George Springer, who grounded a ball to short. Jorge Polanco made an errant throw to second, the inning continued, and Romo walked Altuve with the bases loaded. Caleb Thielbar then entered and allowed a two-run single to Michael Brantley to extend the Astros lead to 4-1.

The Twins had four hits all day. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. You just aren’t going to win games with those numbers.

The Twins will send José Berríos to the mound Wednesday to try and avoid elimination and their 18th straight postseason loss.

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